Vanity, it’s all vanity!

So, we are in the midst of a conundrum, a problem more complex than Gordian and his knot – and I seem to lack the wisdom to cleave with a sharp sword…

I am a writer of tales, a scribbler of narratives that need to be read.

Books that are unread die a little bit each day they are ignored, the pyre and flames don’t destroy as near as many stories as never being read does.

A story is alive, but to remain so it needs its pages turned, its adventures indulged, tears shed and laughter roared as the reader travels all the way from ‘once upon a time’ to the very last turned page of ‘the end’. 

Books can be forgotten and then resurrected, a neglected classic can be reborn as a spine is creaked and dust blown from musty smelling pages – the adventure remains as keen the day of discovery as it was the time so very long ago that it was first written.

Stories are resilient.

They can watch the rise and fall of empires, the lowering and losing of hemlines and the fads and fashions of taste can all be endured – but only if they’ve been committed to print, if they have form.

And therein lies my particular plight.

A long way over half a million words creating narratives of daring do, of chases, fights, pain, laughter, and love all have been written, but perilously few have been read…

I entered this process with a clear goal of walking into Waterstones in Belfast (next door to Boots) and seeing my book, the physical manifestation of my effort, for sale (or theft) on a low table or staked in a black bookcase.

It remains my goal, but now maybe I need to adapt improvise and overcome my scandalous failure to attract ‘traditional publishing’.

Maybe its time we opted for vanity, for self-publishing, for Kindle Direct [other options exist – this is not a promotion or endorsement] and took control of my desire to give my tales the life they so deserve – maybe it is!

Thank you for listening.

Wearing Purple

When I’m old I will wear purple – It’s a good poem, and a better philosophy.

Oscar Wilde is an eternally quotable man, a true legend of whit and the pithy one liner – oh to be almost as good…

I was reminded of the attributed quote “to be yourself, as everybody else is already taken”, and when combined with the Jenny Joseph poem that titles this missive I was mindful to be both the last stanza of the poem AND to be myself – thank you Oscar [you never disappoint] and thank you Jenny Joseph.

So, scribbler of tall tales where is all this going?

Do we have a point, or are we just typing words to meet a production quota?

The point, the crux of all of this is that we should be ourselves, as writers we should acknowledge those that inspired us to release the inner demigod, but that we should avoid at all costs the risk of being a poor facsimilia of something that isn’t the unique being that is us and us alone.

Imposter Syndrome stalks the land like a giant stalking thing – critical daylight has us recoil with all the ham overreaction of a poor Bela Lugosi caricature [and as Bauhaus remind us – he is indeed dead].

Some will NOT like your work, to some it will be that burning daylight, but to others it will indeed be the daylight that removes the shadows and illuminates the endless possibilities that once were hidden!

So, furrow ploughers – wander your own way – you are not lost, you are on your own unique voyage of discovery!

Everything worthy of achievement takes effort, sacrifice, a little disappointment, a tad of pain, but mostly perseverance.

This wasn’t supposed to be a self-help pastiche, and if it reads that way it is purely accidental.

Every great book you’ve ever read was something you enjoyed because it was different, it was a fresh voice, a identifiably new take on the human condition, and that is what I suppose I am hoping to get to.

The unique jigsaw piece that is your work will find its place, you may need to rattle many boxes to get there – but the satisfaction and beauty that will be created when you do will be worth it in the end.

Don’t change, don’t blend in.

Stay uniquely different.

Stay safe and remain sane!